Those Who Go Hungry Are Just Like You or Me: Minnesota FoodShare
We all know what it is like to feel hungry. When you are waiting for that next meal, sometimes your gurgling stomach is hard to ignore and you have to satiate it with a snack or two.
If you are like many people, you try to have a snack that won’t fill you up so you still have room for lunch or dinner. Choosing a healthy snack option is probably also on your radar.
Yet what if you didn’t have the luxury of so many food choices, much less healthy options? What if your gurgling stomach turned into an endless ache and you are powerless to cease its angry grip? That is the difference between feeling hungry and GOING HUNGRY. I’ve never directly experienced going without food, but I do know I would never wish this situation upon anybody.
Yet food shelves such as The Open Door Pantry in Eagan and Lakeville feed 5,500 to 6,000 individuals a month that do go hungry and who know what it is like to be stuck in this situation. From March 1-31, 2016, for Valley Natural Foods’ Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign, you can help these individuals instead learn what it is like to simple feel hungry again and know where their next meal is coming from. The Open Door Pantry is the recipient of all food donations from March 1-June 30, 2016 and Register-Round-Up funds from March 1-31, 2016 at Valley Natural Foods.
Two Reasons Why You Should Donate During Our March Campaign
- Those who go hungry are just like you or me. Some may think that those who visit food shelves are somehow different from normal people. However, that is not the case because many times people find themselves at food shelves for a myriad of reasons, sometimes related to illness, a loss of a job, an accident or other unplanned circumstances. Just think, if you lost your job or an illness led to insurmountable medical expenses, could you afford the food your family needs? That does provide a lot of perspective to the issue for me, especially when I start to think of it in a personal way.
- The Open Door Pantry is Committed to Healthy Food Access. What I find most meaningful and impressive about this food shelf is that it is one of the few to introduce and enforce a healthy food access program, which aligns with the co-op’s values. This means The Open Door Pantry only distributes foods with high nutritional values, fresh, whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, milk, cheese, eggs, meats and poultry and foods that are low-sugar, low-sodium and whole grain when possible. Also, The Open Door Pantry no longer provides its recipients with pop or sugar-sweetened beverages, candy, bakery sweets, ramen noodles, chips or other salty bagged snacks or canned pasta. I don’t know about you, but for me it feels good to know I’m donating to an organization that aligns with my values and one that is working hard to ensure everyone has access to healthy options.
Two Ways You Can Donate During Our March Campaign
- Round-up Your Purchase at the Registers! We are not directly talking about rounding up your purchase a dollar or even two (you are welcome to though!) but simply rounding up to the NEAREST dollar. This means that if your purchase is $18.70, you can choose to round-up 30 cents and we will donate that 30 cents to The Open Door Pantry during March 2016. For me, Register Round-Up is the most convenient, no-brainer way to donate with my busy schedule and I still feel that I am making a huge difference. Many times I don’t even notice the extra 20 or 30 cents on my bill. Yet what I do notice is what The Open Door Pantry can do with the funds that I donate. Did you know that for every $1 donated, The Open Door Pantry can provide up to $10 of healthy, wholesome foods to needy people? Knowing that my combined round-up donations of 20, 30 and 50 cents can go this far, not just in the amount of food purchased, but the quality of food The Open Door Pantry provides, is reassuring to say the least. Sometimes you may think that 20 cents or 30 cents will not make a difference but now you know that it really adds up in a big way. However, do know that it is perfectly okay not to donate every time you are asked to round-up your purchase. Yet recognize that we will ask you to round-up simply because we want to give everyone the chance to donate if they desire to.
- Buy Co+op Basics products for The Open Door Pantry and drop them in our donation bin by the co-op’s exit. Click here to download a list of The Open Door Pantry’s suggested items for donation. Perhaps you want to actually donate in a more tangible way and we welcome this too! The easiest, most cost-effective way to donate quality groceries to the food shelf is through our Co+op Basics program. What is Co+op Basics? It’s pretty basic really, as the program is made up of common organic groceries and household items labeled with purple Co+op Basics signs on our shelves. Yet what is really amazing is that these organic groceries are sold at everyday low prices and when we say, low, we mean low! For example, you can buy a 1 lb. package of Field Day organic linguine for $1.69 and Field Day organic pasta sauce for $2.39. 15. oz cans of Field Day organic beans and other veggies are also only $1.29, not to mention the 16 oz. container of Field Day organic chicken broth for $1.99. So all we are saying is that when buying some linguine or pasta sauce for your family, why not spend 2 or 3 dollars more to get some for a needy family The Open Door Pantry supports? While you can buy other grocery items for the food shelf, we recognize that everyone is on a budget and unable to spend a lot on groceries for their own families even, much less for donation. The Co+op Basics program solves both dilemmas, allowing you to provide an organic meal for your family along with giving you room to make that extra $2 or $3 purchase once in awhile for a quality organic product that can benefit others too –without breaking the bank.
ABOUT OTHER FOOD DONATIONS: If you want to donate items from your own cupboards, you definitely can but do check the expiration dates as the food shelf is unable to accept expired food or food within a month of expiration. If you want to donate perishable goods, please donate them directly to The Open Door as we do not have extra refrigeration available at the co-op. (click here for their address and hours of operation).
We appreciate all of your donations this month because they truly support our mission of helping create a healthier community together. Also, all donations count and we will be adding up the Register Round-up donations weekly on our life-size thermometer beyond our checkouts for you to see so you can join in on the momentum. Help us to keep adding the donations up and up all month long.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR ONGOING SUPPORT AND FOR MAKING OUR COMMUNITY HEALTHIER AND HAPPIER!
About The Open Door Pantry – theopendoorpantry.org/
The Open Door—with the support of the community—is able to assist 5,500-6,000 individuals each month through a variety of programs designed to connect those in need with fresh, nutritious options:
- Healthy food support at 2 food shelves in Eagan and Lakeville, 7 Mobile Pantry® sites, and the newest program, The Mobile Lunch Box, bringing healthy lunches and enrichment activities to low-income children during the summer months.
- Milk, eggs, dairy, meat, chicken, fish, bakery, fruits and vegetables are offered to food insecure families at every visit. At least 70% of the food offered is fresh and perishable. Families select their own food, as no food is pre-bagged for the client.
- Garden To Table® program: 140 community garden plots, orchards and perennial gardens, which allow families to grow the food their family needs, free of charge.
About the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign – www.gmcc.org/mfs/marchcampaign
For more than 30 years, Minnesota FoodShare, founded by the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, has coordinated the March Campaign, the annual grassroots food and fund drive that provides more than half the food distributed by 300 food shelves throughout the state of Minnesota. The March Campaign is the only statewide effort where countless Minnesota schools, businesses, restaurants, congregations and stores become involved to ensure every dollar donated goes directly to food shelves to purchase food for the hungry.
© 2016 Valley Community Food Co-op, Inc. All Rights Reserved.